In one of Hammurabi's letters to Sin-idinnam, governor of the city of Larsam, to which reference has already been made, directions are given for the despatch to the king of "two hundred and forty men of 'the King's Company' under the command of Nannar-iddina... who have left the country of Ashur and the district of Shitullum."
These two cities, situated so close to one another, exercised considerable political influence, and though less is known of Gishkhu than of the more famous Babylonian cities such as Ur, Brech, and Larsam, her proximity to Shirpurla gave her an importance which she might not otherwise have possessed.
But Rîm-Sin was only crippled for the time, and, on being driven from Ur and Larsam, he retired beyond the Elamite frontier and devoted his energies to the recuperation of his forces against the time when he should feel himself strong enough again to make a bid for victory in his struggle against the growing power of Babylon.
In the case of Hammurabi we have recovered some of the actual letters sent by the king himself to Sin-idinnam, his local governor in the city of Larsam, and from them we gain considerable insight into the principles which guided him in the administration of his empire.
The most famous of the later patesis, or viceroys, of Shirpurla, the Sumerian city in Southern Babylonia now marked by the mounds of Telloh. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co. Ur, Isin, and,Larsam succeeded one another in the position of leading city in Babylonia, holding Mppur, Eridu, Erech, Shirpurla, and the other chief cities in a condition of semi-dependence upon themselves.
It was obvious to the new Semitic dynasty in Babylon that, until Ur and the neighbouring city of Larsam had been captured, they could entertain no hope of removing the Elamite yoke from Southern Babylonia. It is probable that the earlier kings of the dynasty made many attempts to capture them, with varying success.
An unpublished chronicle in the British Museum gives us further details of Hammurabi's victory over the Elamites, and at the same time makes it clear that the defeat and overthrow of Rim-Sin was not so crushing as has hitherto been supposed. This chronicle relates that Hammurabi attacked Rim-Sin, and, after capturing the cities of Ur and Larsam, carried their spoil to Babylon.
Did they represent an advance-guard of the Kassite tribes, who eventually succeeded in establishing themselves as the Third Dynasty in Babylon? Or were they the Elamites who, when driven from Ur and Larsam, retreated southwards and maintained their independence on the shores of the Persian Gulf?
As the ages passed away, this culture slowly mounted the streams, and, as Memphis was older by many centuries than Thebes, in dignity if not in actual existence, so Ur and Larsam were older than Babylon, and Babylon than Nineveh.
It is true that the cities of Ur and Larsam were finally incorporated in the Babylonian empire, and the letters of Hammurabi to Sin-idinnam, the governor whom he placed in authority over Larsam, afford abundant evidence of the stringency of the administrative control which he established over Southern Babylonia.